When it comes to action sports, one of the main factors that draws people in is its high impact. But when that impact involves youth athletes, there can be some serious consequences.
According to American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals.
For collision and contact sports like hockey and football, one Michigan Tech professor is insisting that changes should be made to those sports.
â??I think that we need to reduce the risk of concussion, and a concussion is a serious injury for youth athletes in particular because it can alter their ability to play sports, and it also affects their academic performance in school,â?? said Syd Johnson, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Physiology at Michigan Tech.
There is also another risk factor of head injuries related to hockey and football called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
â??This is something, later in life, that can cause dementia. It can cause movement disorders which are similar to Parkinsonâ??s disease,â?? Johnson said.
Johnson says although many people may think helmets can protect athletes from concussions, they are actually designed to prevent skull fractures and it does not prevent the brain from bumping the skull.
â??I think limiting the contact is great. I donâ??t think they need to be hitting in practices or anything like that,â?? said Brian Brewster, coordinator of sports medicine at Portage Health Hospital.
When it comes to protecting the safety of kids, Johnson says there are many ways to help prevent lifelong injuries like training them on how to keep their heads safe and eliminating body checking in hockey.
Last year the USA Hockey approved a ban on body checking for youth players to help reduce the possibility of concussions.